The IIRP’s Whole-School Change Program has been implemented at Bethlehem’s Freedom and Liberty high schools for two years and at Allentown’s William Allen and Louis E. Dieruff high schools for one year. The Bethlehem schools reported significant reductions in disciplinary incidents, particularly following the second year of implementation. In the Allentown schools, discipline referrals are being addressed in a restorative manner and the school climate is improving, due to the commitment of school leadership to restorative processes.

Dr. John Bailie, IIRP assistant professor and director of continuing education, says, “Lehigh Valley educators have been leaders in bringing restorative practices to Pennsylvania schools, and the children are benefiting from improved school culture. Now, the School District of Philadelphia and The Philadelphia Foundation are showing tremendous vision in their commitment to youth. Our children deserve safe school communities where they can learn, thrive and realize their potential to become productive citizens.”

The program will help school leadership and staff develop customized plans that include professional learning groups, on-site professional development and follow-up evaluation. Everyone on staff will have a say and a role in implementation, with several staff trained as professional development instructors to ensure program sustainability.

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